Hungary’s treatment of refugees is against the letter and spirit of EU law, warns senior Euro-MP

The government of Viktor Orban in Hungary is not enforcing EU law and stands outside of EU values over its treatment of refugees, a senior MEP warned today.

Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the European Parliament civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, told MEPs:

“It is very important in understanding the actions of the Hungarian Government which has spread, to some extent, to other Member States such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, that Hungary is not enforcing EU law but is standing outside the spirit of EU law and most of the asylum packages and measures which were agreed by Member States over the past few years.

“Hungary asserts that it is invoking the Dublin Regulation and Convention, while Germany has suspended the Dublin Convention. It is very important to note that the Dublin Convention are inter-governmental agreements and have for some time been downgraded or ignored by most Member States of the EU.

“For the Hungarian Government now to invoke Dublin, when it is clear that its political motivation is to send a political message that it wishes to exclude all refugees now and in the future from its territory is a perversion of EU asylum law.

“In fact, most if not all of the camps which Hungary has designated for refugees have no UNHCR component and the resistance to allowing refugees to move forward to Austria and Germany where Dublin has been suspended breaches the spirit of EU asylum law.

“Germany, by suspending the Dublin Convention, has shown a real understanding of EU asylum law by acting in line with the best of EU values and understanding that desperate refugees require this flexible approach.”

MEPs will vote today on the emergency scheme to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy, Greece and Hungary to other Member States.

Claude Moraes MEP added:

“Following the Council meeting of Monday and the lack of consensus – or urgency – in reaching majority agreement on an organised and compassionate response to the refugee crisis here in the European Union, it is necessary that we respond and that people see the Parliament doing its job.

“In particular, the failure to reach agreement on the relocation mechanism to assist with the refugee crisis in Italy, Greece and Hungary will be seen to be one of the major omissions in the Council conclusions of Monday.

“It is absolutely vital that the Parliament speaks to this issue – directly and immediately.

“We will do so by agreeing now – to approve this urgent procedure – and we will do so tomorrow in our vote, I hope, by majority in expressing European solidarity on the refugee crisis, which I believe that the majority in this House, want to see.

“Refugees have a right to claim asylum under international in Hungary, but the EU must also act on 22 September to help manage this crisis on their border in an organised and compassionate way.”